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by Andrew Ramonas November 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm 1 Comment

2900 block of Georgia Avenue NW (Photo via Google Maps)A group of thieves wearing black ski masks robbed a man at gunpoint in Park View early on Thanksgiving, police said.

The armed robbery occurred on the 2900 block of Georgia Avenue NW about 3:30 a.m. Thursday.

The victim was walking about a block north of the Howard University campus when three masked men came up to him, according to authorities. One of the men then ordered the victim to hand over his belongings, but he declined.

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by Tim Regan November 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

3500 block of 10th St. NWSomeone with a knife beat up and robbed a man in Columbia Heights last week.

The violent robbery happened on the 3500 block of 10th St. NW around noon Friday, according to a D.C. Police report.

A man was walking in an alley near the street when someone approached him from behind and punched him in the eye, police said. The assailant then stood over the man and hit him repeatedly in the face and body.

Then, the thief pulled out a knife and went through the man’s pockets. The man grabbed the knife during the robbery, cutting his hand, according to authorities.

The robber ran off with $150 in cash, an iPhone and some marijuana.

Police did not provide a lookout for the suspect.

Photo via Google Street View

by Andrew Ramonas November 16, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

6th and I streets NE (Photo via Google Maps)Two thieves stole a cellphone from a woman as she used it to photograph the moon near the H Street corridor last night, a day after a “supermoon” rose over the District, police said.

The robbery happened on the 800 block of 6th Street NE about 10:15 p.m. Tuesday. The moon still appeared larger than normal yesterday evening following Monday’s supermoon, which NASA scientists said was the closest full moon to Earth since 1948.

The victim had her phone in the air to snap a photo at 6th and I streets NE when two boys came up to her, according to authorities. One of them then snatched her phone and her purse.

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by Andrew Ramonas November 16, 2016 at 11:05 am 2 Comments

Columbia HeightsA community group is set to receive a $200,000 D.C. government grant to help encourage the growth of commercial corridors in Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, the organization announced yesterday.

The Columbia Heights Initiative secured the money through its new designation as one of a dozen D.C. Main Streets organizations, which focus on developing thriving areas for local businesses. In addition to the Columbia Heights Initiative, other Main Streets organizations include Shaw Main Streets and H Street Main Street.

The grant, along with matching funds from the private sector, will “provide technical assistance to support capacity building, business retention, program design and implementation, and commercial-revitalization planning to maintain the traditional and unique character of” Columbia Heights and Mount Pleasant, according to a Columbia Heights Initiative news release.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to continue to serve our community,” Columbia Heights Initiative executive director Brianne Dornbush said in a statement.

Founded in 2007, the group is best known for organizing the annual Columbia Heights Day and holiday tree lighting at the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza. It also hosts neighborhood cleanups and outdoor movie nights throughout the year.

On Friday, Dec. 2, the Columbia Heights Initiative will throw its inaugural Columbia Heights Night gala fundraiser, which will have live music, giveaways and food from local restaurants. Tickets are $75 online.

“We invite all our neighbors from across DC to join us as we celebrate this tremendous achievement,” Dornbush said.

by Tim Regan November 15, 2016 at 4:50 pm 2 Comments

TamalFest flyerAn event billed as “part culinary fiesta, part cultural exchange” is slated to come back to Columbia Heights early next month.

Local organization Hola Cultura will bring tamales, music and dancing to the Bell Multicultural High School (3101 16th St. NW) during its second annual “TamalFest“on Sunday, Dec. 4.

During the festival, “a stellar group of local tamal makers” will dole out samples and compete to see who steams the best tamale.

Though last year’s event sold out quickly, this year’s party will be “an even bigger and better,” organizers said. Tickets cost $12 and can be purchased online.

More information from Hola Cultura:

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by Andrew Ramonas November 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

Vietnamese Chelsea Restaurant at 1413 Park Road NW

A new place for pho noodle soups and other Vietnamese food could come to Columbia Heights within days, its owner told Borderstan yesterday.

Vietnamese Chelsea Restaurant at 1413 Park Road NW is in the process of securing all the paperwork it needs from the D.C. government to open this week, owner Andrew Nguyen said. The eatery is in the space formerly occupied by Change Inc., a nonprofit organization that left in 2014.

“I believe people will love it,” he said. “We will do very good food.”

In addition to pho, the eatery will have vermicelli and rice dishes with pork, beef, chicken, shrimp and vegatables, according to a menu shown to Borderstan. All entrees are between $12 and $14.

The restaurant won’t have alcohol for sale when it opens, however. Nguyen said he is still working to get a liquor license.

by Andrew Ramonas November 10, 2016 at 1:30 pm 0

1200 block of 24th Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)A man was whacked with a chain during an argument over parking in West End last night, police said.

The attack occurred on the 1200 block of 24th Street NW about 9 p.m. Wednesday.

The victim was standing by his car and arguing with another man about a parking area near the Park Hyatt Washington hotel, according to authorities. The individual bickering with the victim then used a chain to hit the man, injuring him.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the victim sought treatment for his injuries.

Police arrested 53-year-old Eduardo Rosado of Arlington for assault with a dangerous weapon. Information on his lawyer wasn’t immediately available.

A man also was hit in the head and robbed in Columbia Heights early yesterday morning, according to authorities.

The violent robbery happened near 11th and Lamont streets NW about 1:15 a.m. Wednesday.

The victim was walking about a block north of Tubman Elementary School when someone assaulted him and took his cellphone, wallet and keys.

The man was brought to a local hospital for treatment.

Police haven’t released any suspect information.

Photo via Google Maps

by Andrew Ramonas November 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm 2 Comments

600 block of 11th Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)Thieves punched and kicked a man until he was unconscious during a robbery in Columbia Heights last night, police said.

The crime happened on the 3600 block of 11th Street NW about 9:30 p.m. Monday.

The victim was crossing Otis Place NW when he first noticed four people, police said. He then saw them again, and they told him to “get down,” knocking him to the ground, according to authorities.

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by Andrew Ramonas November 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm 1 Comment

1700 block of N Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)Three thieves with guns jumped out of a sport utility vehicle in Dupont Circle and used their weapons to hit a man before they robbed him and three other men with him over the weekend, police said.

The armed robbery happened on the 1700 block of N Street NW about 4 a.m. Sunday.

The victims were just north of the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle when a newer model Ford Explorer or Jeep with tinted windows pulled up to them, according to authorities. Three men then got out of the vehicle, and all of them flashed handguns as they ordered the victims to get on the ground and give up their belongings.

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by Tim Regan November 6, 2016 at 9:35 am 0

3330 Sherman Ave. NWSomeone shot a man near the border of Columbia Heights and Park View last night, according to D.C. Police.

The shooting occurred on the 3300 block of Sherman Ave. NW around 10:45 p.m. yesterday.

Officers responded to a call for a shooting along that block and found a man “suffering from a gunshot wound.”

The man was taken to the hospital, where he is recovering.

Police did not provide a lookout for a suspect. Authorities tweeted about the crime shortly after it occurred:

Photo via Google Street View

by Octavia Silva November 4, 2016 at 1:15 pm 0

Photo courtesy Jelani Wills.jpg

Q&A with a Local Comedian is a frequent column that profiles funny people across the city. Want to be featured? Know someone who ought to be on here? Drop us a line.

I met Jelani when he tended bar at the now-closed U Street hangout, Stetson’s. He worked with a friend’s boyfriend, so we would occasionally hang out there. At the time, I didn’t know that he ran comedy shows there, probably because I hadn’t really become aware of the scene yet. A little while later, I went back to Stetson’s for a comedy show I had heard about and I saw that Jelani was running it, so that’s when I realized how involved in the D.C. comedy scene he is.

I thought it would be cool to catch up and talk to him about his relationship to comedy and reminisce about the old Stetson’s days.

Borderstan: How would you describe ‘making it’ as a comedian?

Jelani Wills: Once you get a paid gig, that’s when you’re official. Usually more like five years in, but I don’t know. Comedy is changing as technology changes so the standard for making it isn’t the same, like there are many paths to success and everybody doesn’t have to use the same one.

Right now, there are comedians that are getting famous just being internet comedians on Instagram and Facebook.

Yeah, it’s like a new way of becoming successful through different platforms.

Yeah, like print media was really good, but now everything’s on the internet, so things are changing, but I think it’s still important to be able to connect with people. You know the feeling of getting a lot of “ikes on Facebook, it’s cool, right? That’s not the same as a like in person. That’s the thing that us comedians live for, that reaction from the stage. We’re all kind of narcissistic, like that’s why we do this, but there’s different levels of that, where I can see that my social media presence is just as important as a comedian, but I can also make a room full of strangers laugh.

I think that’s the real gist of a comedian: can you connect with this room or can you connect with this generation? But I don’t know, I think I’ve been doing pretty good at it.

Yeah, how long have you been doing it now? Because when we were hanging out at Stetson’s, when you worked there, were you into comedy then?

Yeah, we had the show upstairs. I was working nights and comedy happens at night, so Mike Farf, a really big comic who is also a really good friend of mine, lived across the street and was like, hey, I like comedy. You like comedy. Let’s do an open mic show here at Stetson’s.

I was a new comedian. I had been doing it for three months when [the show at] Stetson’s started. Usually, you don’t just jump into comedy and start producing shows.

But you wanted to do something with comedy and you were working at night, so it was really your only option.

Yeah, I made the best of my situation and it turned into something really awesome. I guess you can produce shows and you can make comedy, but there’s a difference because you’re wearing multiple hats. I would bartend and host the pop-up shows at Stetson’s, like, I notice your nachos, but I gotta tell this joke real quick. Just trying to multi-task. I would do the pop-up show on a dead night. I didn’t have any customers and thought, well, at least I can have eight comedians show up and buy a PBR, and that’s something. But you can also give your peers and your friends stage time. That’s what we all want. D.C. is the up-and-coming comedy scene, so there are a lot of different places to do comedy and there’s a lot of different people producing shows. The way you get better is doing it as much as you can.

Yeah, so how did you get started doing comedy?

My first time doing comedy was when I was 22. It was more of a similar thing where I was working as the bar back at this hip-hop bar and they did a comedy show.

Was this here?

Yeah, this was on U Street.

What was the bar?

This was Queen Makeda and it was a hip-hop bar. I guess you could say it was more of an urban room.

You were 22, so how old are you now?

31, but I would not say that I’ve been doing comedy for nine years because you don’t count them unless you’re doing it consistently. I did it four times and for whatever reason, I was really trying to get into law school and study for the LSAT, so I had put it on the back burner and started working at Stetson’s when I was 25.

I’ve always been the funny kid, the class clown. I was listening to this Dave Chappelle interview and he was saying that he was the youngest of five kids, and the youngest child plays the role of tension breaker. I always felt that way. People would tell me, Jelani, you don’t take anything seriously. I do, but I don’t like tension, so that’s what comedians do, break the ice. It’s uncomfortable, but we’re all going to laugh after all this.

That’s the best part, acknowledging and alleviating because not everybody can do that.

But you have to have respect for the craft, though. You know how people will say, you’re really funny; you should do this. You’re naturally a comedian. Yeah, but you have to learn setups and premises. You have to learn crowd work and how to riff; callbacks and segues.

That’s why people will stray away from internet comedians, where it’s just like, you didn’t learn the basics’ But there are different ways to success. At the heart of it, you have to know the basic principles, like you have to know who George Carlin is, who Richard Pryor is; you have to know who the pioneers of this are to respect your craft. You have to be a student. That’s why there are so many more talented comedians now because everybody didn’t grow up with Comedy Central, a whole channel devoted to comedy, and Netflix specials. There are more opportunities to watch more comedy and read about more comedies.

At the end of the day, it’s your personal experience. You have to be yourself, like the worst thing a comedian can do is steal somebody else’s jokes, ’cause that’s not you. You need a personal connection there, so you can reach the reward of making a stranger laugh.

Exactly. I would agree with that. Changing subjects though, do you have any thoughts on the upcoming election?

This election is crazy this year. Like comics, good politicians can connect with their audience. They can either play on people’s ignorance and fear or they can punch up and make a statement. I prefer the latter.

***

Jelani produces and performs at the Punchlines show at The Pinch in Columbia Heights every Tuesday at 9p.m. He also hosts a show at Funnies at Fireflies in Alexandria, Va., every Monday at 8 p.m.

Follow him on Twitter for information on upcoming shows.

Photo courtesy of Jelani Wills.

by Tim Regan November 3, 2016 at 4:50 pm 0

Two men sought in the theft of some power tools during a burglary at a vacant Columbia Heights building last week were caught on video.

The burglary occurred in a building under renovation on the 1300 block of Spring Road NW last Saturday, Oct. 29, around 2:45 a.m., police said. The area where the crime occurred is close to the boundary between Columbia Heights and Petworth.

A video released today shows two men lugging bags through an area that appears to be the building’s stairwell.

Crime Solvers of Washington, DC currently offers a reward of up to $1,000 to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and indictment of the person or persons responsible for a crime committed in the District of Columbia. Your assistance is appreciated by your community.

Anyone who can identify these individuals or who has knowledge of this incident should take no action but call police at (202) 727-9099 or text your tip to the Department’s TEXT TIP LINE to 50411.

Video via YouTube/Metropolitan Police Department

by Andrew Ramonas November 2, 2016 at 1:45 pm 0

1700 block of T Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)A thief stole a delivery man’s car while another person punched the victim and flashed a gun at him in Dupont Circle earlier this week, police said.

The carjacking happened on the 1700 block of T Street NW about 9:45 p.m. Monday.

The victim was making a delivery when someone hopped into his Toyota Corolla, which he left running, according to authorities. The delivery man tried to stop the car, but was unsuccessful.

As the thief drove the vehicle away, a young man with a mask and another person appeared. The young man then punched the victim in the back of his head and showed a handgun.

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by Andrew Ramonas November 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm 0

1400 block of Irving Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)A thief wearing a “poop emoji” mask took part in a violent group robbery in Columbia Heights last night, police said.

The crime happened on the 1400 block of Irving Street NW about 11 p.m. Monday.

The victim was walking near the DC USA retail development when he passed about 10 people, including the person with the mask, according to authorities. One of the individuals then punched the victim in his face, and the rest of them knocked him to the ground.

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by Andrew Ramonas October 31, 2016 at 3:50 pm 1 Comment

1600 block of 7th Street NW (Photo via Google Maps)A cyclist dodged gunfire, but took a bullet to his bicycle, in a bout of road rage in Shaw over the weekend, police said.

The shooting happened on the 1600 block of 7th Street NW about 12:15 a.m. Saturday.

The cyclist and a passenger in a car were arguing over the use of a lane near Dacha Beer Garden when the person in the vehicle pulled out a handgun, according to authorities. The individual with the gun then fired it at the cyclist, hitting the man’s rear bicycle tire.

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